Yorkshire AGM – Women only races and more!

February 9th sees the Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association’s AGM. This is an open meeting that follows the running of the last race of the season, a 30 minute “Madison”.

Venue: SBCI Cricket Club – Friendly, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 2UG
Racing 11am (all categories, £5), AGM 12 noon – pie and peas lunch and hot drinks available.

THE MADISON RACE

A really fun end to the season – riders are paired by the organisers according to ability with the aim of providing evenly matched teams. The race is run off over a short, fun lap, with each team taking it in turns to ride alternate laps. Who will you be paired with?

THE AGM

The meeting is your chance to influence the future direction of Cyclo-Cross racing in the region. With the number of competitors continuing to rise, along with increasing numbers of organisers keen to run events in the region, YCCA is aware that the way it runs Cyclo-Cross needs to move to cope with this increasing demand. This is reflected in some of the key issues that will be up for debate on the day.

What follows is not an agenda, but rather, an outline of some of the suggested “improvements” that could be implemented for the 2014-15 Autumn/Winter season:

1/ Introduce a women only race (40 mins plus 1 lap) for the “Yorkshire Points” series events. This comes as a response to firstly the current overcrowding of the Veteran and Women’s race, where fields of over 130 riders have been racing on the course in two waves; and secondly, the clear need to provide more opportunities for women to race. Anecdotal evidence suggests that although up to 20 women are now competing in Yorkshire Points races, many more are put off by the prospect of beginning their racing careers in large male-dominated fields. When a similar split gave Veteran riders their own race almost a decade ago it proved to be the catalyst for a huge increase in participation in this category. It is hoped that a women-only race will provide the same impetus for growth.

2/ Yorkshire Points Race Timings: As a result of the introduction of the women’s race, a re-structure of the schedule of Yorkshire Points events will be necessary. It is proposed that the following timetable be applied to these events:

10.15 Youth
11.15 Under-12/10/8 and main course practice
12.00 Women
13.00 Senior & Junior
14.30 Veteran-40 (14.31 Veteran-50 plus)
(current schedule is 10.30 Y, 11.15 U12, 12.30 VW, 14.00 SJ)

The main points to note are the slightly (15 mins) earlier start to the day, the new women’s race at 12.00 and the reversing of the SJ and Vet races in the schedule – the latter to give more precedence to the important SJ race, which is thought to be lacking in atmosphere and support.
It is also suggested that, where practical, the under-12 course to be separate from the “main” course, allowing practice after the Youth race for other categories. The practicalities of this are clearly not easy, but the benefits of a clearly defined practice session are obvious.
Under-12 races are to be chip timed, as the reduced cost of £1 per rider, making entry fees £2 (currently £1).

3/ Organisers to receive a standard package of support, including:
– sticks and tape (where needed)
– PA services on the day
– chip timing
– numbers
– start/signing-on sheets
– results
– under-12 prizes
– help with organising prizes in other categories (suggested amounts and podium ceremony support)
– centralised provision of first aid

In addition, there will be an organisers’ “Conference” soon after the AGM at which all the above can be covered in detail. It is hoped that as many organisers as possible will attend to share ideas, discuss the implementation of the above and to share best practice. Other issues to be discussed at the Conference will be the transportation and collection of event kit (sticks & tape), further implementation of the 3 metre-wide minimum course width across all events and courses and race gridding. These latter two have already been trialled during the 2013-14 season.

The continued increase in field sizes has made gridding a necessity to ensure fair and safe starts and thanks to the co-operation of riders, commissaires and organisers, it has proved a success. The three-metre recommendation has also been applied very successfully across most courses, though a small number of “bottle-necks” still remain at YCCA courses and, again, with the large field sizes now commonplace, a few tweaks will be needed to keep races moving safely and fairly. YCCA will always help organisers with pre-event site visits to discuss issues like these.

4/ Non-Yorkshire Points events – the key change to these events will again be the introduction of a new race, in this case one for “Novice” adults. This race will be chip timed, but as it will be registered as “Go-Cross” (British Cycling’s introductory category), entry fees are likely to be just £7. Run over approximately 30 minutes, with no prizes, it will be aimed at riders of both sexes who want to try the sport of Cyclo-Cross in a friendly environment. Working in conjunction with the introduction of women’s races in Yorkshire Points events, it is hoped that this new race will help provide more opportunities for newcomers to find their feet in the sport.

10.30 Youth
11.30 Under-12
12.30 Novice
13.15 – 13.45 practice
2.00 Senior/Junior/Vet/Women

5/ Re-structuring the early season – the last few seasons have seen the first four weeks of the season all devoted to “Yorkshire Points” events, before the 3-Peaks at the end of September. The plan for 2014-15 is that these four weekends will begin with a non-Yorkshire Points event and end with another, with two Yorkshire Points events in-between. This will allow everyone to start the season with a less pressured race, and will also enable riders who wish to prepare specifically for the 3-Peaks the opportunity to do so without missing half a season worth of Yorkshire Points events.
With avoiding clashes with National Trophy events once again the deciding factor in scheduling Yorkshire Points events, this may also see a slight shift in emphasis towards later in the season – again, anecdotally, this has been requested by a number of riders.

6/ Under-12 Series: Should we introduce a series for the Under-12 categories? Some riders have chosen to race in other regions because they wanted to be part of s series. Others (parents) are adamant that under-12 riders should be allowed to race without the pressure of pursuing season-long goals. With big fields of up to 100 under 12 riders, should we be pursuing a structured series approach, or should we just concentrate on providing the best possible courses upon which young riders can learn to race in a fun and relaxed environment?

We’ll be sharing this page on Facebook, where everyone is welcome to comment and debate the above points – but please come along on the day if you want to influence the decision making. The meeting will be open to anyone and everybody will have a chance to both speak and vote on the key changes. 

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